Earlier this month, Microsoft sent me the Surface Pro 3 and a Lumia 930 with the aim for me to find out how they work together. I’ve reviewed the 930 in the past and it’s probably one of the best Windows phone that’s ever been released. But how will it work alongside the Surface Pro 3 to give you a sort of seamless experience of Windows? One of the comparisons are what are the similarities? Do they work together very well at all? I wanted to find out and bring you this video.
With Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to create this sort of seamless experience and eco-system. Both Windows Phone and Windows 8 use live tiles to sort off that start screen or home screen and you can pin your contacts to the home screen on both of them. So if you connect it to social networks like Twitter or Facebook, whenever your friend posts an update, you will see it on the live tile on your home screen and that’s the same on the PC and on the phone. So it really doesn’t matter where or when you look at your phone. You will see the most important updates from the people you care about the most, the ones that you have chosen to have on that home screen.
And you can pin webpages to your home screen as well so you’ll have dedicated live tiles to specific websites that you like to go to a lot. This saves you from going into the browser and manually type it in or search through your tabs. You can just press on the shortcut or the live tile on your home screen and you’ll go straight there. And that’s the same on both devices.
One feature I found really useful was the tethering. If you go into your Windows Phone into the settings and then into internet sharing, switch it on; you’ll see that your phone now becomes a personal hotspot and then you can go to the Surface Pro 3 and look for available networks, you’ll find it straight away. And when I did it, I didn’t even have to put the password in. so you just click on it and it connects and you use your phone as a hotspot. And that’s really, really useful if you’re in an area where there is no wireless connectivity. If you’re away from home and you’ve got 3G or 4G coverage, you may as well use the hotspot or use your device as a hotspot. And you can use your data sense app to kind of see how much data you’re using to make sure you don’t go over your allowance.
One really cool feature (at least in theory) is Internet Explorer sharing or syncing. If you open tabs on one device, you should be able to see them on the other one. And that’s the theory. In practice, they didn’t all always work. Sometimes there’ll be pages missing or sometimes there just wasn’t anything there at all. It was quite frustrating. I reset devices to make it work and it sort of did but also sort of didn’t.
I had much better luck with working it the other way around. So I opened up Pages on the Surface Pro then go to my Windows Phone search for available pages and choose other and then I’ll see the pages that are open on my Windows Surface Pro. And they showed up pretty much every time in my list so I could see them. And that wasn’t a problem. And this is very similar to the way that Apple does iCloud tab syncing or the way that Google Chrome does the similar thing, except that it really didn’t work as well as the other two in my experience. But still, it’s there and it can work. It just needs a little bit of refinement. It’s also worth noting that your device does save passwords and it will sync them across Windows devices as long as you’re signed in with your Outlook account or your Windows account.
And there’s also OneNote and OneDrive to think about as well. If you’ve got anything stored in OneDrive and the Cloud or if you’ve got any note saved in OneNote, it’ll show up in all your devices. Of course there are Android and iOS apps that do the same. But with all these sort of features all tied together, it does make for a pretty compelling experience. Both devices also have Reading View so if you go to websites that are particularly difficult to read because there are ads everywhere or pictures everywhere or just formatted really funny, the Reading View on Windows Phone and Windows 8 strips it down into a sort of easy-to-read page, almost like a book. And in almost every case, it made the page easy to read or easier to read since it took away all the distractions and just let me get straight to the article. With some sites, the formatting is a little bit funny and it would ignore some of the line spacing. And I found that even with PhoneDog’s site. But even with most cases, it worked really well.
Of course, there’s a lot more that Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 does together but those are kind of the highlights that I wanted to bring you. It’s Microsoft’s attempt to making an eco-system. And relatively, it’s pretty new to the game. If you compare it to Apple who has always been about hardware, software eco-systems services, all that kind of stuff all tied together. They’ve always been that way. They’ve been doing it for years. They had the Mac and then they had the iTunes and iPod tied in to iTunes. And then the iPhone, the iCloud are all sort of tied in together and they just gradually keep on adding different services and hardware to that core eco-system.
For Microsoft, for years they were just making PCs. And at one point, they were making Windows Mobile devices but after they died off, they had to sort of reinvent the way they were doing things. And so with Windows Phone and Windows 8, it’s relatively a new thing using the OneDrive Cloud System to make it all kind of work together. So of course, they’re going to have tethering problems and bugs. And once they get it ironed out, it’s going to be a very competitive and very compelling solution at least for people who like Windows Phone and Windows.
Do you have a Surface Pro 3 or a Windows 8 PC? Do you use a Lumia device as well? How do you like them working together? Let us know in the comments below.